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Court rejects Yamgnane presidency bid on technicality

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-02-02

In an interview with FRANCE 24 Tuesday, Togolese presidential candidate Kofi Yamgnane denounced the decision of the country's constitutional court to reject his candidacy for the Feb. 28 presidential election.

Togo’s constitutional court on Tuesday rejected opposition candidate Kofi Yamgnane’s eligibility to run for the Feb. 28 presidential election against incumbent Faure Gnassingbé, the son of General Gnassingbé Eyadéma who ran the country for 38 years.

Yamgnane, who served as junior minister in France under former French President François Mitterrand and holds dual nationality, was rejected because of a mix-up over his precise date of birth.

The court had examined French documents saying he was born on October 11, 1945, while his Togolese documents say he was born on December 31, 1945.

In an interview with FRANCE 24 from the Togolese capital of Lomé, Yamgnane explained that official birth documents in Togo would simply have had his birth year as 1945, and that the court's rejection on this issue was blatant subterfuge.

"This is obviously a pretext to get me out of the way," he said. "Here in Togo, these kinds of problems are usually dealt with with a few rounds from a Kalashnikov.

"They couldn’t shoot me so they found some other way to get rid of me."
Yamgnane added that he could not appeal the court's decision, since it was definitive.

'Confusion over the identity of the person'

In its ruling on Tuesday, the country's constitutional court said the presence of two dates of birth was "of a nature to cause confusion over the identity of the person and consequently to weaken the legal and judicial security inherent in the highest office in the country".

Meanwhile judges have accepted the eligibility of seven other candidates for the presidential election set for Feb. 28.

President Faure Gnassingbé was sworn in as president on Jan. 12, 2009.


Date created : 2010-02-02